Drought Coping among the Small-Scale Farmers of Luangwa District in Zambia

  • Lillian Chipatu The University of Zambia
  • Matilda Nakazwe Kumbwa
Keywords: Coping, Drought, Luangwa District, Small Scale Farmers, Zambia


Luangwa district in Zambia’s Lusaka province lies within a marginal area that is prone to both drought and floods in the rainy season (Luangwa District Council, 2007). Despite documenting drought coping in other areas that are prone to drought, little to no study has been done to document drought coping among the small scale farmers of Luangwa district. The aim of the study was to establish drought coping among small scale farmers of Zambia’s Luangwa district. To achieve this aim, small scale farmer’s perception of drought hazard was ascertained. Effects of drought on the livelihoods of small scale farmers were also investigated. Having done the above, the study established drought coping strategies among small scale farmers of Zambia’s Luangwa district. The study was a critical realist case study within a setting of qualitative methodologies. A semi structured interview guide was used on disaster management officers, agriculture supervisor, town planner and extension officer, while a focus group discussion was conducted among the small scale farmers. Observations of farming activities on small holdings were also done. The study established that small scale farmers of Luangwa district employed various ways of coping with drought such as wild food harvesting, income generating activities, employing traditional farming practices and relief food. Thus the study findings confirmed literature assertion that wild food harvesting and engaging in economic activities were prominent drought coping strategies. Furthermore, one unique negative effect of drought revealed by this study was that drought turned the small scale farmers into drunkards. The study recommend introduction of environmental learning for drought coping. Environmental learning would be a steering wheel for the integration of different knowledge systems sources such as traditional and modern science. Thus this will make learning relevant and therefore would empower small scale farmers with knowledge and skills needed to cope with drought in a relevant manner.